Friday, November 26, 2010

When Black Friday Comes ...

... that means Thanksgiving is over. Here, the gobble holiday was about as low-key as it gets. We did a lot of laundry, watched some depressing football games, and ate the traditional turkey-stuffing-green beans-squash-pumpkin pie feast. NJ had a good day.

Pie! More pie, please. And more of this delicious white stuff that accompanies it. Actually, I'll just take more white stuff.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Fun! Wait, what ...? Oh. It's No Fun. Ah, OK.

To what I'm sure will be the delight of NJ's southern-most grandparents, we found out today that she's not all that much into the Winter Wonderland scene. Not into it at all, really. Nope, not at all.

Of course, the temperature was a nipple-killing 28 degrees when we were outdoors a few moments ago. Still, her distaste for all things wintry started before we went outside, when she was slipped into her new (to her) winter jumpsuit like a hot dog wiener into its bun, if the bun was super-tight and zippered and Velcro-ed closed. And then there were the mittens. And the hat.

No, Daddy, I'm not helping you shovel. Forget it.

The Wife took her across the street to meet a faceless snowman, but NJ was fairly unimpressed.

I don't get it -- this guy has no mouth, so how is he supposed to tell me how smart and adorable I am? I'm wasting my time here.
By the time we ventured back across the street to meet a snowwoman wearing a grass skirt and shades, NJ'd had enough.

Seriously, it's colder than a witch's meal delivery device out here. Can we please go back inside? Like, now?
Today, like yesterday, all three of us have been home thanks to the snow, ice and Seattle's legendary inability to cope with either. The forecast says the mercury will rise above freezing in two days, but then it's likely to snow some more. So this could be the worst week of NJ's young life, or she'll get used to it and be a regular snow bunny by this time next week. Meanwhile, this is what's going on -- The Wife and I trying to get work done while simultaneously entertaining and keeping an eye on a 15-month-0ld whose walking skills seem to improve hourly.

See what I did, Daddy? She put down the laptop and picked up this book! I've always known that I rule your lives, but now I think I'm really going to start taking advantage of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want ...

... but if you try some time, you just might find that you get something else you want.*

We broke out the camcorder yesterday to get some footage of NJ's fast-developing walking skills. Lately she's trucked completely across the kitchen and has made several multi-step journeys to one parent or another -- these usually end with her plopping into said parent's lap, giggling. Of course, with the camera rolling, the last thing NJ wanted to do was walk. But we got some other footage that's pretty watchable, too.

Here you'll see the budding genius's anatomy lesson, followed by a quick demonstration of her telephone know-how:

Paging Dr. NJ, paging Dr. NJ ... please pick up the purple courtesy phone ...

And here, in her room, NJ shows off two of her latest hobbies -- grabbing every article of clothing within reach and putting it on her head, and tossing her adoring parents multiple hugging-and-kissing bones:

Awwwww ...

*Apologies to Mick and Keith

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So, This Evening? The Cat's Away

And boy, did the mice play.

The Wife met a friend from out of town for dinner, so NJ and I were left to our own devices for dinner and amusement time in the evening. All my good socks were freshly washed and in the overflowing laundry basket, so I sorted the clean clothes while the kid cooed at the dog and played around on the bedroom floor. I tossed down a fresh, clean (I cannot stress that enough -- clean) pair of my jockey shorts near her, and the next thing we both knew about fifteen minutes of laughing and giggling had passed and NJ was sitting in a gigantic pile of underwear. When I reared back to toss a pair at NJ, her face lit up. When I launched them, she smiled (showing her two teeth and three of the four that are on their way). If a pair landed on her head, she laughed and laughed. When it fell off her head, she'd grab it and put it back, then move it for the next incoming pair. She even pulled a couple over her head and wore them like necklaces.

I thought about getting the camera, but do you really want to see my underwear? Yeah, I didn't think so. You're welcome, Internet!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The World's Most Underrated Baby Milestone 4: The Ultimate Baby Milestone

Sure, crawling and standing and walking are all big deals for a little kid. But last night I saw what has to be the be-all and end-all of baby milestones.

NJ was cranky in her high chair, and The Wife and I may or may not have been trying to cheer her up by busting moves from the world's most obnoxious wedding reception ritual, the Chicken Dance (apparently a day care fave), and/or imitating Mick Jagger's stage dancing (which also involves flapping chicken arms). NJ found this all quite amusing and laughed, then she pulled her hands into her chest and stuck her elbows out wide to make chicken wings. She smiled as though she'd just been accepted into a very exclusive club.

My little girl made chicken wings.

I'm getting a little misty-eyed just sitting here thinking about it.

Step, Daughter

After a few minutes of deliberation last night, The Wife and I decided that NJ officially took her first steps at almost 6 p.m. She's been flirting with the idea for more than a week, and over the weekend she took a half-step a couple of times, then took one entire step. However, she immediately toppled over, so upon further review we disallowed it as an extended fall. (We fawn over her and give her the benefit of the doubt, sure, but we're also sticklers!)

Last night, though, NJ let go of the basement sofa and took two solid steps to her mother, then intentionally flopped into her lap. A few moments later she stood up and went on a three-step jaunt before leaning into the sofa. Perhaps encouraged by our cheering, the usual frustration that comes with falling down wasn't there, so she's likely to keep at it and ramp up her efforts. She also showed wisdom beyond her year by deciding, after her successes, to call it a night with the walking. Quit while you're ahead, kid -- if it's good enough for Joe DiMaggio and George Costanza, it's good enough for you.

So now she's standing like a seasoned pro and is ready to start toddling around. We have a baby gate that I'm going to set up in the office doorway to keep her in sometimes (she likes to crawl from the office into the rest of the basement, and I immediately lose track of her and have to chase her), and to keep her out sometimes. She loves to stand up next to my desk and take things off it, and she's been reaching for Delbert the stuffed armadillo (right) lately, and if she gets him she'll hurt herself and the 'dillo. (I can't have that; I love her more, but I've loved Delbert longer, and he's already missing a couple of claws and the end of his glorious, glorious tail).

NJ is late to the walking game, and for a long time she never showed much interest at all in it. (We're pretty sure she's the last non-walker in her day care class.) But now that she's mastered standing, both by grabbing onto coffee tables or sofas and free-style, knee-bending, rise-from-nothing standing in the middle of the room, she's looking to expand her horizons. Lately she and I have been playing Dogs in the basement -- we get on opposite ends and crawl furiously toward each other (it usually ends with her stopping and giggling wildly while I gently plow into her) -- and I'm looking forward to changing the name of that game to reflect her two-legged status. Suggestions welcome.

UPDATE: NJ took three more steps today at day care, according to her daily summary note. So it looks like this just might stick.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Raisin NJ*

*or "Raisin Cain" or "Raisin da Roof" or "Raisin Objections" or whatever other lame "Raisin" pun you can think of

Get up offa that thing!

You will be mine. You will be mine, all mine.

One's too many and a hundred ain't enough.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Party's Over

Turn out the lights, the party's over
They say that all good things must end

Certain NJ-related developments around the household have that chorus running through my head at seemingly regular intervals. (It's usually Dandy Don Meredith's voice in my head, what with me being a football fan and a child of the '70s and all, but Willie's version is just so damn smooth. You're welcome!) The kid that I used to rave about, well ... oh, I'm still raving. But things aren't like they used to be. To wit:

Crying and whining. The kid was pretty good about this for a long, long time. Now, though, she's learned that crying and whining gets results. It really started during the Daycare Sickness Jubilee, and who could blame her for crying and whining then? Not me. But -- and it seems like some sort of world record -- she's been illness-free for at least a week now. The crying and whining? It's survived. Long ago, I think it was in NJ's first week, someone warned us against bending to the will of a baby who would "manipulate us." It was premature advice -- I didn't think a one-week-old knew much from manipulation -- but now I'm starting to get it. Particularly when she throws a loud, blubbery six-second fit and then calmly, coolly inserts her thumb in her mouth and clams up. Plotting her next move, no doubt.

Sleeping. I said once before that the contently sleeping infant who made us the envy of new parents all across north Seattle was long gone, and it's still true even though the daycare colds and bugs are gone. She can be counted on to wake up once per night these days. Thankfully it's not as bad as when she was sick -- last week, her nose was so stuffed up that when she sucked her thumb, she couldn't breathe. I imagine that was pretty frustrating for the little kid. Again, though, it's better now that -- for the moment -- she isn't sick. Also, I'm sure this can be blamed in part on her teething: Her teeth took their sweet time showing up, and now they're making up for lost time -- three are coming in now on the top, maybe even four. So we coasted for a while there on the teething front, and now it's catching up to us. This is a factor in the crying/whining, too, I'm sure.

Eating. NJ is no longer the Hungry Monkey who'll eat whatever is put in front of her. The first thing she struck off her to-eat list? Broccoli. She seems to get pickier by the day. And worse, she's started holding out for the things she likes best. A couple of evenings ago I made the mistake of saying the word "yogurt" aloud, and she was inconsolable (see "Crying and whining," above) until The Wife was shoveling creamy, peachy goodness into her mouth.

Preferring her mom to me. This one is the toughest to take. NJ's shown a decisive preference for The Wife, as compared to Dad Solo. The Wife brings her upstairs in the morning and she can't put her down on the bed with me to get dressed because NJ starts crying. The Wife goes into the kitchen to make dinner and she can't leave NJ with me because the kid starts crying; instead, she sits in her high chair in the kitchen and watches her mom. It's not that she dislikes me or anything -- she just was practicing standing up and beamed at me every time for approval -- it's just that she is into her mom right now and makes it clear. She's playing favorites and right now I'm lagging. The Wife spent an hour at day care last Friday for some pumpkin-carving goings-on, and a couple was there with their kid. The mom left and the kid started crying in dad's arms. The Wife leaned over to another father and said, "I wish my husband was here to see this, he'd feel better." The man (allegedly) replied, "Happens at our house, too. It's normal." I put a year into caring for her exclusively, you'd think I'd have some good will stored up by now. But: No. I still have to earn it every day.